Syphilis in a Nigerian paramilitary agency: need for treatment policy

  • EE Nwokedi Departments of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, PMB 3452, Kano, Nigeria
  • Z Iliyasu
  • AU Dikko
  • AO Azeez
  • B Mohammed


Background: Sexually transmitted diseases are widespread in the developing countries and constitute a major public health problem in Sub-Saharan Africa. More recently, there has been a resurgence of syphilis. The aim of this study was to determine the seroprevalence rate of syphilis among newly recruited senior cadres of a Nigerian Security Agency.

Method: Eight hundred and fifteen newly recruited men and women sent for serological test for syphilis (STS) in our laboratory were all screened accordingly using Rapid Plasma Reagin (RPR) test. All those that were positive wee confirmed using treponema pallidum haemagglutination (TPHA) test.

Results: The seroprevalence rate of treponema pallidum infection was 4.0% (95%CI = 2.8% -5.6%). The rate was significantly higher among women (8.0%) compare to men (3.4%) (X2 = 5.3 df = 1 P = 0.02). Considered by age, the highest seroprevalence of 6.7% was seen among oldest recruits (30-39) years age group compared to 4.2% among the younger ones. This trend was however, not statistically significant (X2trend = 1.6 df =3 P = 0.20).

Conclusion: Syphilis seropositivity is highly prevalent among the paramilitary population hence the need for prophylactic treatment with benzathine penicillin to be instituted for seropositive individuals as a matter of policy by the government. This could reduce the incidence of HIV infection among Nigerians.

Keywords: syphilis, sexually transmitted diseases, seroprevalence

Annals of African Medicine Vol. 4(4) 2005: 177–179

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eISSN: 1596-3519